Who He Is: Director of Emergency Management and Communications Gary Schenkel has already worked in an emergency management capacity as the director of the Office of the Federal Protective Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He started at the Department in March of 2007. Prior to that, beginning in 2004, he was the Assistant Federal Security Director for the Transportation Security Administration at Midway Airport. Beginning in 2000 Schenkel served as the Assistant Deputy Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. He oversaw education and training of officers. His experience with the Police Department follows his near 30 year career in the U.S. Marine Corps.
City Salary: Schenkel's salary is undisclosed.
Goals: Schenkel, at his confirmation hearing June 8, called attention to the policy that sends police officers out on 70 percent of calls. The high volume of 911 calls makes this a daunting task and distracts officers from work policing the streets. His goal is to begin a massive education campaign to remind citizens of the proper use of the 911 emergency line and the 311 non-emergency line. This would create a decrease in volume of calls and allow more officers to focus on beat policing. Schenkel’s push for an education campaign is directly in line with Police Superintendent Gerry McCarthy.
Challenges: Schenkel begins his tenure in the early summer, essentially guaranteeing that his first months will be full of challenges. It will be important that Police Superintendant Garry McCarthy and Schenkel work together to bring perpetrators to justice and send a message to the rest of the city. Schenkel was also transferred to a different position in Homeland Security because of an investigation into inefficiency in his branch. He will have to prove efficient as Director of Emergency Management and Communications in order to fulfill Emanuel’s public safety goals.